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Craft museum kaput

Art school merges long-lived craft museum into new Center for Contemporary Art & Culture .


TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - The Museum of Contemporary Craft building has been put up for sale.The Museum of Contemporary Craft is closing. The Pacific Northwest College of Art, which took over the museum in 2014, said Wednesday is will sell the condo space which the museum inhabits at 724 NW Davis in a cluster of galleries. The craft museum store will close.

The museum will be incorporated into a new venture called the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture. This will be inside PNCA’s main campus building at 511 NW Broadway, the former Federal Building which was remodeled and opened in February 2015.

The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture will have exhibitions, workshops, lectures, screenings, performances, and publications, and will “invite consideration and analysis of the current cultural moment.” The CCAC is calling itself “a platform for the cultural production of our time.”

It will be directed by PNCA professor Mack McFarland, currently Curator and Director of Exhibitions for PNCA and Museum of Contemporary Craft.

“The Center offers us an opportunity to enter into dialog with committed partners, interested parties, and new audiences to reflect on our perpetually changing world and our role in that change,” said Mack McFarland in a release Wednesday.

In 2009 PNCA spent around a quarter of a $4 million grant from Hallie Ford in a joint operations agreement with the Museum. However, the museum found it difficult to raise money at a time when the Portland art Museum, PNCA itself, and the Oregon College of Art and Craft were all fundraising for their own expansions.

The statement continued, “Despite the focused efforts of the Museum of Contemporary Craft staff, commitment of PNCA administration, and work of a Board of Governors-led task force, the original vision of transforming the museum into a dynamic, student-centric educational resource was not fully realized. In the meantime, the financial cost to the college has remained high.”

Leadership turnover was high, with the departures of David Cohen, Namita Gupta-Wiggers and Jeffrey Thomas.

“Relieving the obligations of the Davis Street space will enable PNCA to refocus those resources on programs and assets that truly engage our students, alumni, and faculty and enhance students’ preparation for lives of creative practice,” said Casey Mills, PNCA’s interim President.

The original 1938 Craft Museum’s space on Corbett St in Lair Hill was sold in 2007 but the museum took on more debt when it moved into developer Jim Winkler’s condominium art space on the North Park Blocks, the De Soto Building, in what was once known colloquially as the Daisy Kingdom building for the fabric store on the corner.

Some craft shows will be carried over to the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, including Design and Craft of Prosthetics.


jgallivan@portlandtribune.com